2017 GMC Canyon Review


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2017 GMC Canyon Overview

The GMC Canyon midsize pickup is a popular choice for those who need the utility of a truck but don’t want to maneuver a gargantuan vehicle. It’s a stablemate of the Chevrolet Colorado, but it’s also a major competitor to the popular Toyota Tacoma and Honda Ridgeline—both of which recently underwent major updates. The Canyon also gets new perks for 2017, including an updated V6 powertrain and all-new luxury Denali and off-road All-Terrain trims. New colors, an optional heated steering wheel, and an upgraded 7-inch touchscreen are available as well.

The most basic Canyon is still powered by a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 200 hp and 191 lb-ft of torque. This powertrain is available only in a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) short-box crew cab or an extended cab with a choice of RWD or 4-wheel drive (4WD). 4WD Canyons get a 6-speed automatic transmission, while RWD versions receive either a 6-speed manual transmission or the 6-speed automatic. A 2.8-liter Duramax turbodiesel 4-cylinder engine good for 181 hp and 369 lb-ft is an available option in both RWD and 4WD crew cabs and is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Opting for a Canyon with the all-new 3.6-liter V6 direct injection engine, which produces 308 hp and 275 lb-ft, opens the greatest number of choices. Unless you want a manual transmission, which is offered only with the 2.5-liter powertrain, you can get pretty much any flavor Canyon you want—RWD or 4WD extended cabs, short-box crew cabs, or long-box crew cabs. GM says the new 6-cylinder engine—which is shared with certain Cadillac models—provides only a marginal power increase over the V6 it replaces, but it does operate more efficiently. It’s paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission with a first gear designed for off-the-line power, and a cylinder-deactivation feature helps improve fuel economy even further.

Once you’ve chosen a powertrain and body style for your Canyon, it’s time to pick a trim. Oddly, the trim named “Canyon” isn’t the base truck—that honor goes to the SL, which is geared toward landscapers and fleet buyers. With vinyl floors and seats, a reversing camera, an AM/FM radio with a USB port, and no rear seat, the SL trim provides a bare-bones work truck available only in a RWD, manual, 4-cylinder-engine, extended-cab version.

The Canyon’s Canyon trim level is where most individual buyers will start their shopping process. It isn’t exactly luxurious—it includes the features from the SL trim with just a few additional upgrades like carpeted floors and cloth seats. This trim is available as a RWD or 4WD extended cab, RWD short-box crew cab, or RWD long-box crew cab.

The Canyon SLE trim adds GM’s IntelliLink infotainment system, OnStar telematics, a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot (though a subscription costs extra), 17-inch wheels, and fog lights. The SLE trim is available in all drive and cab configurations, and 4WD Canyons get a locking rear differential. Once at the SLE trim level, you can add features like navigation and additional option packages. The SLE Convenience package comes with a sliding rear window, remote start, and single-zone automatic climate control, and the Driver Alert package adds forward-collision alert and lane-departure warnings.

The Canyon All-Terrain trim is available only to 4WD trucks and comes with extras like running boards, a hill-descent-control system, a transfer-case shield, and heated front seats. An optional All-Terrain X package adds even more off-roading equipment, including all-weather floor liners, a spray-on bedliner, and Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac all-terrain tires.

For the Canyon SLT trim level (offered on all crew-cab configurations), all features from the SLE trim and Convenience Package are included, plus leather seats, 18-inch wheels, and extra chrome trim. Navigation, 18-inch wheels, a bedliner, and an upgraded sound system cost extra.

New for 2017 is the Canyon Denali trim, which is available to all crew cabs and adds 20-inch wheels, a chrome grille, a spray-on bedliner with the Denali logo, and chrome assist steps. Inside, a heated leather steering wheel, the Driver Alert package, and a Bose sound system are all standard.


A member of the New England Motor Press Association who has owned everything from a Town Car to a Prius, Keith has contributed automotive coverage to outlets including Wired, Car & Driver, and USA Today.

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